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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Teenage Makeover Switches Gender
by Betty Jo Tucker

What an idea! Take a movie like She’s All That (1999) and switch genders. Place the story in 2021, hire TikTok darling Addison Rae and handsome Cobre Kai actor Tanner Buchanan. The rest should be easy. Just wait for teen audiences to appreciate your finished product He’s All That.

Well, my teen age days are long gone, but I admit to enjoying this remake. Perhaps it’s because I watched He’s All That right after viewing Annette, a downer if there ever was one. My only complaint regarding this teen-targeted movie involves its frantic soundtrack at the beginning.         

What did I like about He’s All That? This time the “don’t judge a book by its cover” theme comes across with flying colors. Also, my inner church lady approves teens being alcohol free and their language less offensive. Plus, this version includes a photogenic horse – and I’m a pushover for horses – as well as two members of the She’s All That cast, Rachel Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard, brought over for important nostalgia reasons. Cook makes the leading lady’s empathetic and hardworking mom come to life on screen, and Lillard gives us the most laughs as a humorous high school principal. Finally, this remake does an excellent job of showing how the two main characters become better persons and develop genuine feelings for each other despite their differences.

Because this teen romp is directed by Mark Waters (Mean Girls), we shouldn’t be surprised when mean girls show up to sabotage our heroine’s makeover victory. Rob Lee Fleming Jr. -- screenwriter for She’s All That – also penned He’s All That, so the plot keeps us aware of “in-group, out-group” teen problems

The film follows Padgett Sawyer (Rae), a popular teen influencer who gives tips on make-up and how to improve yourself. She spends most of the time filming herself and her boyfriend (Peyton Meyer) for thousands of followers. By doing this, she earns money for college. But one day she loses her power to influence anyone because she catches her boyfriend cheating on her -- and she looks terrible in the video which goes viral. Padgett agrees to a bet that she can win back her popularity by picking any unpopular boy and changing him so much that he will be voted Prom King. Fortunately she chooses Cameron Kweller (Buchanan), a messy-haired disheveled guy who works in a stable. .

Meet Cameron, outsider guy

who gets makeover then learns why.

A girl he trusts needs fodder for

her social media encore.


Will these cute teens in “He’s All That”

stay together after this spat?

A story told in 90’s gold

and “My Fair Lady” in the fold.


This gender switch follows those two.

For target eyes it’s sure to do.

   And a prom dance scene made me smile.

It beats “Annette” by a long mile.


(Released by Netflix and rated TV-14 by MPAA.)     

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